And now I, Mormon, do finish my record concerning the destruction of my people, the Nephites.
We did march forth before the Lamanites, unto the land of Cumorah, by a hill that was called Cumorah, and there we would give them battle.
And my people, with their wives and children, did now behold the armies of the Lamanites marching towards them; and with that awful fear of death which fills the hearts of all the wicked, did they wait to receive them.
And they did fall upon my people with the sword, and with the bow and the arrow, and with the ax, and with all manner of weapons of war. And my men were hewn down, yea, even my ten thousand, and I fell wounded in the midst; and they passed by me that they did not put an end to my life.
And when they had. hew down all my people save it were twenty and four of us (among whom was my son Moroni) we did behold, from the top of the hill Cumorah, the ten thousand who were hew down, being led in front by me.
And we also beheld the ten thousand led by my son Moroni. And behold, Gidgiddonah, and Lamah, and Gilgal, and Limhah, and Jeneam, and Cumenihah, and Moronihah, and Antionum, and Shi Nom, and Shem, and Josh, and ten more, had fallen with their ten thousand each. Yea, even all my people had fallen.
And my soul was rent with anguish because of the slain of my people, and I cried: O ye fair ones, how could ye have departed from the ways of the Lord! How could ye have rejected that Jesus, who stood with open arms to receive you! Behold, if ye had not done this, ye would not have fallen.
Abridged from the Book of Mormon
In the words of the artist:
“With the last picture in the series, MORMON BIDS FAREWELL TO A ONCE GREAT NATION there was a gap in history of several hundred years since the coming of Christ. During this time the Nephite people had fallen into wickedness so grave that the Lord decreed that they should be destroyed. And so they were, all in one overwhelming epic battle. It is hard to imagine the enormity of death that took place, hard to conceive an entire nation of men, women, and children, destroyed from off the face of the earth. The artist felt and strove to capture the epic, downright Wagnerian tragedy of the solemn scene at the end of the last battle. Mormon has been fatally wounded in the fight, and so they have laid him down on the hilltop, supported by his son Moroni. As he grieves for his fallen people, he holds the plates of gold, graven with his own hand, leaving a few plates for Moroni to add some final words. That one last leaf on the tree carries its own symbolism, as well as the buzzards circling over the tragic scene. The blood -stained flag shown leaning against the tree is that venerated Title of Liberty raised so long ago by Captain Moroni. It seems only natural that they would have saved and nurtured that old flag. Knowing it was the end, they might well have said one to another, “We weren’t worthy to live under that flag, but now, at least like men, we can die under it.”
This painting could hardly have been done without suggesting the carnage and death that took place on that terrible day. I did include a few token dead, but did it tastefully, not a lot of blood and wounded bodies. Indeed, there is, with all its tragedy, a feeling of peace, a silent final tranquility for those who rest now, in death’s slumber.” Arnold Friberg
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